1990 in American television

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The year 1990 in American television involved some significant events. Below is a list of American television-related events during 1990.

Notable events[edit]

Date Event
January 2 All My Children broadcasts its 20th anniversary special. Joe and Ruth Martin sit down with Erica Kane, her mother Mona, and Phoebe Wallingford as they go through scrapbook pictures which segue into memorable clips from the series's past twenty years.
January 15 Square One TV returned for its third season.
January 21 MTV Unplugged premieres on cable television with musical guest band, Squeeze.
February 9 After 16 years, the 1st generation CBS Special Presentation bumper is shown for the final time.
February 17 Aerosmith appeared in the Saturday Night Live sketch Wayne's World, where they perform the Wayne's World theme song.
March 13 All My Children actress Debbi Morgan quits the role of Angie Baxter Hubbard.
April 1 CBS dismisses prominent sportscaster Brent Musburger one day before his final assignment for the network, the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. Musburger would sign with ABC Sports later that year.
Debut of comedy TV network Ha!.
April 21 Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, a special program warning children about the danger of drugs and featuring characters from several Saturday morning children's shows, is simultaneously simulcast by ABC, BET, CBS, Fox, NBC, USA Network, and Nickelodeon.
April 22 The Earth Day Special, a two-hour commercial-free special event premiered on ABC.
April 30 The long-lost pilot show for I Love Lucy is broadcast by CBS as a special.
May 25 CBS began broadcasting its daytime lineup in stereo sound; the last of the three major networks.
June 7 The Cruise of Deception storyline is broadcast on Days of our Lives.
June 27 Genie Francis, in an attempt to shed her image as Laura Spencer, started playing Irishwoman Ceara Connor on All My Children.
July 16 Radio DJ personality Rick Dees debuts an ABC late-night talk show, Into the Night, Starring Rick Dees.
July 30 MovieTime was rebranded as E!.
September 8 Fox Kids, a children's programming block, debuts.
September 10 The Disney Afternoon debuts as a syndicated children's block.
September 15 CBN renames itself The Family Channel.
October 1 TBS drops the "SuperStation" sub-title. It would return 6 years later.
November 3 The NBA on NBC debuts, with its first game being the Los Angeles Lakers visiting the San Antonio Spurs.
November 10 Chris Farley, Tim Meadows, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider and Julia Sweeney join the cast of Saturday Night Live.



The following is a list of shows that premiered in 1990.

Date Show Channel
February 5 Rodeo Drive Lifetime
February 9 The Bradys CBS
March 1 Carol & Company NBC
April 8 Twin Peaks ABC
April 14 In Living Color Fox
April 19 Wings NBC
May 5 TaleSpin Disney Channel
June 16 Monopoly ABC
July 12 Northern Exposure CBS
July 16 Match Game ABC
July 29 Tim Conway's Funny America
August 20 Parenthood NBC
August 22 Working It Out
August 23 Ferris Bueller
August 27 Guys Next Door
September 1 Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone Syndication
Haywire Fox
September 2 Parker Lewis Can't Lose
September 3 The Challengers Syndication
September 4 Barnyard Commandos
September 7 DEA Fox
September 8 American Chronicles Fox Kids
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
Bobby's World
Peter Pan and the Pirates
Tom & Jerry Kids
Zazoo U
America's Funniest People ABC
New Kids on the Block
The Wizard of Oz
The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 NBC
The Fanelli Boys
Gravedale High
Kid 'n Play
September 10 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Lenny CBS
Uncle Buck
September 11 The Family Man
The New Adventures of He-Man Syndication
Quiz Kids Challenge
Trump Card
September 13 American Dreamer NBC
Law & Order
Babes Fox
September 14 Tiny Toon Adventures Syndication
September 15 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures CBS
Captain Planet and the Planeteers TBS
Piggsburg Pigs! Fox Kids
September 16 The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda Syndication
E.A.R.T.H. Force CBS
September 17 The Trials of Rosie O'Neill
September 18 Married People ABC
September 20 The Flash CBS
Top Cops
September 21 Going Places ABC
Evening Shade CBS
September 22 Over My Dead Body
September 23 Against the Law Fox
Dream On HBO
September 24 Adam-12 Syndication
September 26 Cop Rock ABC
September 29 Widget the World Watcher Syndication
October 1 America Tonight CBS
October 4 Beverly Hills, 90210 Fox
October 24 WIOU CBS
October 31 Swamp Thing Fox

Network changes[edit]

The following shows aired new episodes on a different network than previous first-run episodes:

Show Moved from Moved to
Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears ABC Syndication
The Hogan Family NBC CBS
The Major League Baseball Game of the Week
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Syndication


Show Last aired Previous New/Same network Return date
Supermarket Sweep 1967 ABC Lifetime February 5
Match Game 1982 Syndication ABC July 16
The Joker's Wild 1986 Same September 10


Date Show Debut
January 14 Free Spirit 1989
March 9 The Bradys 1990
March 12 Mama's Family 1986
March 23 Scrabble (returned in 1993) 1984
March 24 ALF 1986
April 6 Baywatch (returned in 1991) 1989
April 13 The Pat Sajak Show
April 24 Mancuso, F.B.I.
May 6 227 1985
May 7 Alien Nation 1989
May 12 The Famous Teddy Z
May 17 Falcon Crest 1981
May 21 Newhart 1982
May 25 You Can't Do That on Television 1981
May 26 The Tracey Ullman Show 1987
June 14 NBA on CBS 1973
June 29 Hardball 1989
July 6 Snoops
July 8 Mr. Belvedere 1985
July 30 Sister Kate 1989
August 31 Rodeo Drive 1990
September 2 Tim Conway's Funny America
November 10 Pee-wee's Playhouse 1986
November 19 Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 1989
November 28 DuckTales 1987
December 1 Alvin and the Chipmunks 1983
The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 1990
December 28 Quiz Kids Challenge

Made-for-TV movies[edit]

Title Network Date of airing
Murder in Mississippi NBC February 5
The Death of the Incredible Hulk February 18
The Incident CBS March 4
A Killing in a Small Town May 22
It ABC November 18 & 20


Date Name Notability
January 30 Jake Thomas Actor (Lizzie McGuire)
March 23 Luke Tarsitano Actor (Fudge)
April 23 Matthew Underwood Actor (Zoey 101)
May 1 Caitlin Stasey Actress (Neighbours)
May 27 Chris Colfer Actor (Glee)
October 22 Jonathan Lipnicki Actor (The Jeff Foxworthy Show)
November 24 Sarah Hyland Actress (Modern Family)


Date Name Age Notability
January 2 Alan Hale, Jr. 69 Actor (Skipper Jonas Grumby on Gilligan's Island)
January 9 Northern Calloway 41 Actor (David on Sesame Street)
January 15 Gordon Jackson 67 Actor (Hudson the butler in Upstairs, Downstairs)
January 18 Rusty Hamer 43 Former child actor (Make Room For Daddy)
February 15 Jack Fletcher Character actor, voice director (My Gym Partner's a Monkey)
March 24 Ray Goulding 68 Comedian, half of the comedy team Bob and Ray
May 10 Susan Oliver 58 Actress (Peyton Place)
May 16 Jim Henson 54 Puppeteer (The Muppets creator)
May 21 Franklyn Seales 38 Actor (Dexter on Silver Spoons)
May 25 Vic Tayback 60 Actor (Mel Sharples on Alice)
June 2 Jack Gilford 83 Actor (Cracker Jack commercials)
July 7 Bill Cullen 70 Game show host (original host of The Price Is Right)
July 8 Howard Duff 87 Actor (Felony Squad)
October 26 William S. Paley 89 Founder and longtime head of CBS
November 3 Mary Martin 87 Actress/singer (Peter Pan)
November 12 Eve Arden 82 Actress (Our Miss Brooks)
November 27 David White 74 Actor (Larry Tate on Bewitched)
December 2 Bob Cummings 82 Actor (The Bob Cummings Show)
December 28 Kiel Martin 46 Actor (Officer J.D. LaRue on Hill Street Blues)